If you're like me, you get inspired and motivated when you hear stories of success. It's thrilling to hear what others have done, how they've overcome obstacles in their way and achieved something great. When it comes to the raw food diet, the stories of success seem endless.Here on the Pure Jeevan blog, we've been highlighting these raw success stories under our "My Raw Story" series. It's a popular part of this blog and we'll continue to collect and share the inspiring stories with all of you.

Another place to find some wonderful raw food success stories is over at the All Raw Directory. We have a category there for raw success stories. You'll find some of the stories we've run here through our My Raw Story series, but you might also find some others that you've never heard about before!

It's been an interesting week for us here. We've looked at a handful of ways that people may either become obese, or sustain an obese body -- all largely for reasons outside of dietary intake. The three situations we looked at included maintaining weight as a defense mechanism (Tuesday), becoming obese through worrying about becoming obese (Wednesday), and obesity as basically a physical manifestation of a non-physical longing (Thursday).

Without a doubt, these are just three out of hundreds of possible non-physical contributors to poor health. The idea was merely to start a thread on these things, opening people's minds to possibilities that perhaps they'd never seriously considered.

I knew right away that I would be filing this under our "Fun-filled Friday" bannner. Finding pawpaws is a huge treat! They're surprisingly little-known, and also very surprisingly tropical in nature. Who would think that something this delicious and exotic-tasting would thrive in so much of the non-trpoical world!? In this video, you'll learn where to look for pawpaw groves, how to identify a pawpaw tree, and what pawpaws look and taste like.

I am very fair-skinned, with light eyes and medium-colored hair. For as long as I can remember, the sun made me feel ill. The older I got, the sicker I'd feel. I felt uncomfortable in the heat, my skin would feel all prickly, I got horrible headaches, and sometimes I even got sick to my stomach. I've always loved being out in nature, but on really sunny days, it bothered me and I'd try to stay in/near the woods and the shade.

For today's installment of Makin' It Monday, we wanted to share something that we've been making a lot of lately. It's so simple, yet so delicious and refreshing. Here's the recipe:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 large stalks of celery
  • 1 handful of cilantro

That's all!? You might finish with a pinch of your favorite salt (optional).? Also, since the cucumber is an extremely water-heavy veggie, I would advise you to run it through the juicer several times. Here's what I do:

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

This Thursday I want to give a special "Thank You" to Kevin Gianni. He was on my list for a Take the Time Tuesday introduction, but I didn't want to wait until then to tell you about him. I've been following Kevin's work on the Internet since he hosted The Raw Food World Summit last year. You can tell when you hear him speak that he's a genuinely nice, intelligent, caring person. He's honestly listening to what people are saying, trying to absorb the plethora of health information that's available. He asks a lot of interesting questions, too. He then takes what he has learned, condenses it, and shares the knowledge with the rest of the world. He does all of the hard work for us! For this, I wanted to give a special thanks to him.

And you thought Apple Cider Vinegar was tough to pin down ? Ever come across the whole fluoride controversy

A Google search on "fluoride" returns 6,300,000 results.

A Google search on "fluoride toothpaste" returns 246,000 results.

Here's part two of Wendi's travelogue from Sedona:

After leaving ChocolaTree Cafe, and interviewing the lovely Kelly, we went to the famous Sedona Airport vortex spot, but there was no parking, so we drove to the top of the rock/mountain and there was a farmer's market going on. We took a quick video of what was happening up there, to share on the blog. There was a cool musician playing: Vighas Kendzia, who plays piano, native flutes, sax, and more. He's from musicfromthegarden.com and I told him he'd be on our site. So, if you made it here to check out the video, welcome, Vighas! :-)

From there, we headed out to find a vortex spot that Kelly described. I'm not sure if we found the exact spot, but we really enjoyed the place we found. We ate our lunch there and it was DELICIOUS! The water, the trees, the large boulders, the fresh air...it was a very special place. We then drove to one of the more well-known hiking/vortex spots: Bell Rock.The hike in is a bit over a mile, then there is the climbing (which isn't really recommended by the park officials, but it's absolutely necessary to fully experience Sedona!). I gave KDcat some space to explore the area a bit on her own, as this was a very special time for me a few years ago. There is a certain energy and cleansing that happens when visiting Sedona. If any of you are going through changes in your lives, or feel like there is a shift that needs to happen, I highly recommend visiting Sedona for a few days. KDcat felt some powerful personal healing, which didn't surprise me at all. It's a place I'd love to visit every few years, or so, as it definitely holds some sort of healing energy. Maybe it's just the views, or the peacefulness of being away from everything. Whatever it is, I highly recommend visiting Sedona and climbing around on the rocks!

Some of you know about my love of Sedona, AZ, especially those who were following the Pure Jeevan blog a few years ago. It was a visit to Sedona in 2008, for a Raw Spirit Festival, that my life dramatically changed once again. This time it wasn't the food that was healing me, but it was related to the raw food lifestyle. I felt healed on many levels while there in Sedona, surrounded by the beautiful red rocks, cool and sandy earth beneath my bare feet in contrast to the warm sun on my skin, and embraced by a vibrant, loving community of like-minded individuals.
There's a certain magic to Sedona, if you believe in such things (well, I suppose it's there even if you don't believe). ;-) ?For me, I believe that we can many times find scientific reasons to explain much of the magic in this beautiful world, but that doesn't have to diminsh the experiences we have. Sedona is known for its powerful vortex energy, which has a way of stirring up our own energy systems and bringing about healing, balance, awakenings, etc. ?Is this energy measurable through science, or is it more metaphysical in nature? I don't know and to be honest, it doesn't matter to me. There were life-altering changes that took place while I was in Sedona in 2008 which rippled out beyond me and touched the lives of those very close to me, as well.

Here's a quick video of a Sedona Farmer's Market and a clip of KDcat and I at an area we claimed to be flowing with vortex energy, even though it wasn't necessarily one of the more touristy vortex destinations.

This has been floating around the web for a day or two, but for those who haven't seen it, here's former President Bill Clinton talking about his plant-based diet, and what he hopes to gain through it. How amazing to see an *American president* discussing this sort of thing!! Who'd have ever imagined this (considering the strength of the beef and dairy lobbies in this country)?

Stories like this give me hope that the world will become more health conscious -- and will begin to understand that things like irradiation, GMO technology, pesticides, and all of the scary discussion floating around about the "Codex" are all unnatural, unsustainable, and unhealthy for us and for the planet. All you need is love -- and delicious organic foods! Glad to see Bill Clinton advocating this.

You're in for a treat with this recipe. Our Guest Raw Chef this week is Shivie Kaur, half of "The Cook and Butler" duo of TeamRaw. Wendi shot this video a few weeks back in San Francisco during Pure Jeevan's recent cross-country tour! While there, Shivie and her partner Cemaaj created and served a delicious gourmet meal for Wendi and KDcat. The blog post from that visit was here. So, here's Shivie sharing with you how to make an easy and delicious raw salad dressing!